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OU football: Meet the Sooners' opponent — Texas

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Texas Football

Texas coach Tom Herman and the UT players prepare to run out of the tunnel before the Red River Showdown in the Cotton Bowl Oct. 6, 2018.

OU-Texas is finally back.

No. 6 Oklahoma heads to Dallas undefeated while the No. 11 Longhorns (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) have a loss to No. 6 LSU (5-0, 1-0 SEC). The last time Texas was ranked as high as No. 11 going into the Red River Showdown was in 2011, when the Sooners won 55-17 behind quarterback Landry Jones' 367 passing yards and three touchdowns.

The Sooners still have a head full of steam with the goal of making the College Football Playoff for the third consecutive year, and behind senior quarterback Jalen Hurts and first-year defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, they're looking to go a step further than the last two attempts.

The Longhorns, though at No. 11, still have a bright future. It's only week six in the season, and junior quarterback Sam Ehlinger and third-year Texas head coach Tom Herman look as poised as ever to give the Sooners more trouble in the Cotton Bowl.

Meet the Sooners' opponent: the Texas Longhorns.

Head coach: Tom Herman

Herman may very well be the most hated man in Norman. 

Besides donning burnt orange, Herman has also beaten the Sooners twice in his head coaching career: as the head coach of a Houston team that beat the Sooners in their 2016 season opener, 33-23, and in his second season at the helm of the Longhorns, 48-45, back in 2018.

Herman's coaching career spans 21 years with eight different programs, and he has earned a record of 43-15 as a head coach.

He also finds the "horns down" hand gesture to be disrespectful.

Offense

Ehlinger leads a Longhorn offense that averages 497.8 yards per game, which is 19th in the Football Bowl Subdivision. He's tallied 1,448 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and two interceptions. He's also racked up 236 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Along with Ehlinger, who racked up 386 yards of offense and five touchdowns — three in the air and two on the ground — Texas has returning star power in sophomore running back Keaontay Ingram and senior wide receiver Devin Duvernay, who averages over 10 yards on the catch and has four touchdowns.

Senior wide receiver Collin Johnson is questionable for the Saturday contest but can be a threat to the Oklahoma defense with his 6-foot-6 frame if available.

Johnson caught for 81 yards and a touchdown while Ingram rushed for 86 yards in last year's win over the Sooners. This season, Ingram leads the Longhorns in rushing yards with 313.

Defense

The Longhorns picked off West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall four times in their 42-31 win over the Mountaineers. Texas has eight interceptions on the season so far.

Texas' defense is solid, with the only blemishes showing up in its 45-38 loss to now-No. 6 LSU, who put up 573 yards of total offense in front of Matthew McConaughey watching from the sideline. It also didn't help that LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a Heisman contender.

Players to watch

All eyes will no doubt be on Ehlinger and how he'll perform against Grinch's defense, rather than former defensive coordinator Mike Stoops.

Sophomore wide receiver Brennan Eagles is a 6-foot-4 threat who has posted 279 receiving yards and four touchdowns. His size will be a test for OU cornerbacks Parnell Motley and Tre Brown.

Sophomore defensive back B.J. Foster has 12 tackles and a sack this season. In 2018, he sacked now-Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray in the Cotton Bowl, and he tallied 46 tackles and 2.5 sacks that year.

Kickoff for the match will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, on FOX.

Kickoff date changed from Sept. 12 to Oct. 12.

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Caleb McCourry is the assistant sports editor at The Daily and is a junior at OU majoring in English. He's covered football, basketball and volleyball. 

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